Thursday, 17 July 2014

Topic Thursday: Colic in Babies

Colic. The word parents have either never heard of or the word that fills parents with fear! We've been struggling for over two weeks now with Isla in the evenings and one of the main explanations that keeps cropping up is colic.

Colic is a strange one in the sense that it provokes so many different opinions and advice strategies. it is usually defined as:
'excessive, frequent crying in a baby who appears to be otherwise healthy and well fed'

It affects up to 1 in 5 babies and is a poorly understood condition. Apparently it usually starts in babies in their first few weeks of life at stops by 4 months or 6 months at the latest. It's a bit strange in our case because Isla was 11 weeks old when it really kicked off (if it is colic!). She did have a few episodes at around 4 weeks and 6 weeks of uncontrollable crying in the afternoon but nothing like it has been for the past few weeks...

When a baby has colic it looks like they are in distress but the crying/screaming are not harmful to them and they should still feed well and gain weight. We've noticed that Isla's face goes a bit red and she clenches her fists and arches her back sometimes - apparently these are signs of colic. Babies can also draw their knees up to their tummies during a crying outburst too.

Colic is apparently just as common in breast fed babies as it is in bottle fed babies. Isla is bottle fed and I had a few people tell me that this makes her more susceptible to colic but it would appear they were wrong!

The thing is with Isla, she's always brought up her wind pretty well so I don't think that can be what's bothering her so much. We use Dr Brown's bottles, which are fab, and know the techniques that work best on her for burping. We've also been using Infacol before every feed for a week now with no difference. Might need to try Colief if it doesn't kick in soon!

The crying comes out of no where between 6 and 8pm and can continue for up to 2 hours at the moment. A few times it has started in the afternoon as well. I do try to make sure she isn't overstimulated throughout the day as I know this can be a contributing factor.

It is utterly heartbreaking to hear your baby crying in the way they cry when it could be colic. It's like a whole new level of crying and nothing you can do will help or soothe them. We've been utterly exhausted trying to help Isla out in the evening. On occasion, we've both had to walk away for 5-10 mins because it's just too much. Some nights, literally nothing will work. We will take her for a walk in her pram, take her in the car, rock her, walk around with name it, we try it and it doesn't help! As long as baby is in a safe place, it's totally ok to leave for 5 mins, refresh and go back and try again.

These are some common tips for helping a baby with colic though:

  • Tuning into baby's signals - recognise pre-cry cues and try and distract before it starts with a feed, change, sleep etc
  • Make sure baby is relatively upright during feeding and prevent air swallowing in bottle fed babies
  • Try anti colic bottles (Dr Browns and Tommee Tippee ones look the best)

  • Try Infacol, Colief, gripe water before feeds

  • Burp baby after every feed (don't know why you wouldn't anyway!)
  • Massaging baby's tummy clockwise to help trapped wind
  • Let baby have a dummy for comfort sucking
  • Quiet things down before bedtime to prevent overstimulation
  • Try white noise (we've got a sleep sheep and an app on my phone)
  • Rock baby
  • Hold baby close to you
  • Give baby a warm bath (this makes Isla much worse!)

Once Isla does get to sleep, she's pretty good. She will go from 10 or 11pm to around 4 or 5am which confuses colicky babies sleep for this long a period or do they wake up?

At a 'Life with Baby' class, run by health visitors, that I went to this week, I brought it up but there wasn't much they could say to help. They just went over all the signs and the soothing techniques above. It looks like it's just a case of waiting it out. I know babies go through developmental leaps too which can't help matters and probably contributes to the issue.

I guess it sums up how loose a term colic is and how it's not actually that well understood if we're not even 100% sure it's what our baby has just now! All the signs do point towards it though...

Here's a bit more info on colic:

Here's hoping whatever it is, it goes soon. Hope your babies haven't/aren't suffering with colic!
Binky Linky


  1. Ah I really feel for you, Monkey had colic until he was about 4 months and it was so so hard seeing him so unhappy all of the time and knowing there wasn't much we could do to help. One thing we really found the helped was a gripe water called Colic Calm. It is made from vegetable charcoals and turns their poo black. It's quite expensive at 17.99 a bottle (on amazon) but we found it helped Monkey SO much. He would be screaming and screaming, we gave him some and he would do a poo, just like that and be immediately happier. Obviously different things work for different babies but it may be worth a try. We found infacol didn't help at all and was a bit nervous of colief as you need to wean them off it afterwards. Best of luck though and hope you find something that helps. It's so difficult to know if it is colic though isn't it? Gosh I remember those days well and really hope baby no.2 doesn't have it! xx Caroline -

  2. Hey hun, oh that stuff sounds fab. I'll have to look into it. Yeah I worry about the colief because of the weaning off afterwards! Touch wood she's not been as bad the past couple nights but still not what she used to be like. Thanks for commenting, hope you have a fab weekend :) xx

  3. In my country colic is healed with massages. Oil the baby's tummy and massage it gently. It kinda works and they call it healing power of touch. I guess its more of a comfort thing really than healing. Your post is so in depth! I wish that your colic problems will end sooner! #binkylinky

  4. Oh I really feel for your. We were lucky in that we never had colic issues with Potato, but he was a very bad sleeper for the first 18 months and our evenings were often physically and emotionally exhausting. I hope you are able to find something that works for Isla. Sending love and strength.
    Thanks for linking up with #BinkyLinky

  5. Really feel for you both, and Isla too of course. Colic - or whatever it may be, sounds just awful to deal with and you are clearly doing so well. I really hope you find something that helps, or that it passes soon... It will pass, it must just be so horrible while you are in the middle of it. Sending big hugs #BinkyLinky

  6. My eldest had colic for about 2 months and it was really hard, she ended up with a dummy as it seemed to give her relief, we tried infacol, and dentinox drops not sure if either really helped though! (

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  8. Great blog you've got here. It's packed full of lots of information about colic in babies

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